Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 
 

TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

Loading
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
     
     
 
1800 - 1899
 
 
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-1800 Part II NEXT-1801 Part II    
 
 
     
FitzGerald Edward
1800 - 1809
YEAR BY YEAR:
1800-1809
History at a Glance
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1800 Part I
Battle of Heliopolis
Battle of Marengo
Siege of Malta
Battle of the Malta Convoy
United States presidential election
Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise
Moltke Helmuth
Pius VII
Heeren Arnold Hermann Ludwig
Macaulay Thomas Babington
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1800 Part II
Edgeworth Maria
Jean Paul: "Titan"
Schiller: "Maria Stuart"
David: "Mme. Recamier"
Boieldieu: "Le Calife de Bagdad"
Gall Franz Joseph
Phrenology
Trevithick Richard
Voltaic pile
Richmond Bill
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1801 Part I
Act of Union
Treaty of Luneville
Alexander I
Battle of Copenhagen
Gauss: "Disquisitiones arithmeticae"
Newman John Henry
Chateaubriand: "Atala"
Grabbe Christian Dietrich
Nestroy Johann
Schiller: "Die Jungfrau von Orleans"
Robert Southey: "Thalaba the Destroyer"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1801 Part II
David: "Napoleon Crossing the Alps"
Paxton Joseph
Beethoven: "Die Geschopfe des Prometheus"
Beethoven: Piano Sonata 14 "Moonlight Sonata"
Bellini Vincenzo
Vincenzo Bellini - Norma : Sinfonia dell'Opera
Vincenzo Bellini
Haydn: "The Seasons"
Lanner Joseph
Joseph Lanner - Hofball-Tanze
Joseph Lanner
Lortzing Albert
Lortzing "Overture" Der Waffenschmied
Albert Lortzing
Bichat Marie François Xavier
Fulton Robert
Fulton's "Nautilus"
Lalande Jerome
Flinders Matthew
The British in Australia
Union Jack
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1802 Part I
Napoleon president of Italian Republic
Legion of Honour
Napoleon as First Consul for life
Treaty of Amiens
Battle of San Domingo
Kossuth Lajos
Grotefend Georg Friedrich
Dumas Alexandre, pere
Alexandre Dumas
"The Three Musketeers"
Hauff Wilhelm
Hugo Victor
Victor Hugo
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" 
Lenau Nikolaus
De Stael Germaine
Mme de Stael
"Corinne, Or Italy"
Chateaubriand: "Rene"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1802 Part II
Canova: "Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker";
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op.36
Forkel Johann Nikolaus
Treviranus Gottfried Reinhold
Health and Morals of Apprentices Act in Britain
Chimborazo
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1803 Part I
Act of Mediation
Ohio
Louisiana Purchase
Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)
Emmet Robert
Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805)
Battle of Assaye
Korais Adamantios
Emerson Ralph Waldo
Lancaster Joseph
Bulwer-Lytton Edward George
Merimee Prosper
Porter Jane
Schiller: "Die Braut von Messina"
Tyutchev Fyodor Ivanovich
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1803 Part II
Decamps Alexandre-Gabriel
Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
Henry Raeburn: "The Macnab"
Semper Gottfried
Turner J.M.W.
J.M.W. Turner
Adam Adolphe
Adolphe Adam   - Giselle
Adolphe Adam
Beethoven: "Kreutzer Sonata"
Berlioz Hector
Berlioz - Harold In Italy
Hector Berlioz
Sussmayr Franz Xaver
Carnot Lazare
Shrapnel Henry
Shrapnel shells
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1804 Part I
Duc d'Enghien
Yashwantrao Holkar
Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Action of 5 October 1804
Disraeli Benjamin
British and Foreign Bible Society
Code Napoleon
Brown Thomas
Feuerbach Ludwig
Sainte-Beuve Charles-Augustin
Hawthorne Nathaniel
Morike Eduard
Sand George
Schiller: "Wilhelm Tell"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1804 Part II
Morland George
George Morland
Schwind Moritz
Moritz von Schwind
Royal Watercolour Society
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica")
Glinka Mikhail
Glinka "Waltz-Fantasia"
Mikhail Glinka
Strauss Johann, the Elder
Johann Strauss Vater - Lorelei Rhein Klänge Op. 154
Johann Strauss I
Thomas Bewick "History of British Birds"
Wollaston William Hyde
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis Meriwether
Clark William
 Surveying the West
Serturner Friedrich Wilhelm Adam
Dahlia
Hobart
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1805 Part I
Treaty of St. Petersburg
War of the Third Coalition 1805
Mazzini Giuseppe
Battle of Austerlitz
Peace of Pressburg
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Battle of Trafalgar
NELSON AND THE WAR AT SEA, 1797-1805
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1805 Part II
Ballou Hosea
Andersen Hans Christian
Hans Christian Andersen
"The Fairy Tales"
Walter Scott: "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"
Robert Southey: "Madoc"
Stifter Adalbert
Tocqueville Alexis
Goya: "Dona Isabel Cobos de Procal"
Turner: "Shipwreck"
Gerard: "Madame Recamier"
Beethoven: "Fidelio"
Congreve William
Hamilton William Roman
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1806 Part I
Battle of Blaauwberg
Fox Charles James
Bonaparte Joseph
Bonaparte Louis
War of the Fourth Coalition 1806–1807
Battle of Jena-Auerstadt
Continental System
Greater Poland Uprising of 1806
Confederation of Rhine
The End of the Holy Roman Empire
Treaty of Poznan
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1806 Part II
Adelung Johann Christoph
Mill John Stuart
Jewish consistory
Browning Elizabeth Barrett
Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
"Sonnets from the Portuguese"
Kleist: "Der zerbrochene Krug"
Laube Heinrich
Thorvaldsen: "Hebe"
David Wilkie: "Village Politicians"
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4
Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Op. 61
Arriaga Juan
Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga - "Agar dans le désert"
Juan Arriaga
Latreille Pierre Andre
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1807 Part I
Battle of Eylau
Battle of Friedland
Treaty of Tilsit
Bonaparte Jerome
Tribunat
Mustafa IV
Chesapeake–Leopard Affair
Embargo Act
Garibaldi Giuseppe
Stein Karl
Gunboat War (1807-1814)
Invasion of Portugal
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1807 Part II
Albright Jacob
Hegel: "Phanomenologie des Geistes"
Hufeland Gottlieb
Charles and Mary Lamb: "Tales from Shakespeare"
Longfellow Henry Wadsworth
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"The Song of Hiawatha"
Vischer Friedrich Theodor
Wordsworth: "Ode on Intimations of Immortality"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1807 Part III
David: "Coronation of Napoleon"
Zeshin Shibata
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Beethoven: "Leonora Overture" No. 3
Beethoven: "Appassionata"
Etienne Nicolas Mehul: "Joseph"
Spontini Gaspare
Spontini - La vestale
Gaspare Spontini
Bell Charles
Bonpland Aime Jacques Alexandre
Thompson David
Ascot Gold Cup
Slave Trade Act 1807
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1808 Part I
Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves
Peninsular War (1807–1814)
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1808 Part II
Erfurt Congress
Napoleon III
Fries Jakob Friedrich
Goethe: "Faust"
Kleist: "Das Katchen von Heilbronn"
Walter Scott: "Marmion"
Arnim and Brentano: "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"
Achim Ludwig
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1808 Part III
Daumier Honore
Honore Daumier
Caspar Friedrich: "The Cross on the Mountains"
Goya: "Execution of the Citizens of Madrid"
Ingres: "Oedipus and the Sphinx"
Spitzweg Carl
Carl Spitzweg
Philipp Otto Runge: "The Morning"
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 5
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 6 "Pastoral"
Gay-Lussac Joseph-Louis
Goethe and Napoleon meet at Erfurt
Robinson Henry Crabb
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1809 Part I
Treaty of Dardanelles
Invasion of Martinique
War of the Fifth Coalition
Battle of Wagram
Peace of Schonbrunn
Gladstone William Ewart
Charles XIII
Treaty of Amritsar
Napoleon annexes Papal States
Lincoln Abraham
Abraham Lincoln
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1809 Part II
Darwin Charles
Charles Darwin
On the Origin of Species by Natural selection
Ricardo David
Campbell Thomas
Thomas Campbell: "Gertrude of Wyoming"
FitzGerald Edward
Goethe: "The Elective Affinities"
Gogol Nikolai
Krylov Ivan
Рое Edgar Allan
Edgar Allan Poe
"Ligeia"
"The Raven"
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
Tennyson Alfred
Alfred Tennyson
"Idylls of the King"
"Lady of Shalott", "Sir Galahad"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1809 Part III
Caspar Friedrich: "Monk by the Sea"
Flandrin Jean-Hippolyte
Hippolyte Flandrin
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
Mendelssohn Felix
Mendelssohn - String Symphony No. 10 in B minor
Felix Mendelssohn
Spontini: "Fernand Cortez"
Maclure William
Sommerring Samuel Thomas
Braille Louis
Braille
Seton Elizabeth
 
 
 

The Battle of Copenhagen. 1801
 
 
 
 
 HISTORY, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, ART, LITERATURE, MUSIC, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, DAILY LIFE
 
 
 
 
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
 
 
 
1801 Part I
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Act of Union
 

Act of Union, (Jan. 1, 1801), legislative agreement uniting Great Britain (England and Scotland) and Ireland under the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

 
The Irish Rebellion of 1798 brought the Irish question forcibly to the attention of the British Cabinet; and William Pitt the Younger, the British prime minister, decided that the best solution was a union.

By legislative enactments in both the Irish and the British parliaments, the Irish Parliament was to be abolished, and Ireland thenceforth was to be represented at the Parliament in Westminster, London, by 4 spiritual peers, 28 temporal peers, and 100 members of the House of Commons. A union, Pitt argued, would both strengthen the connection between the two countries and provide Ireland with opportunities for economic development. It would also, he thought (mistakenly), make it easier to grant concessions to the Roman Catholics, since they would be a minority in a United Kingdom.

Naturally the union met with strong resistance in the Irish Parliament, but the British government, by the
  undisguised purchase of votes, either by cash or by bestowal of honours, secured a majority in both the British and Irish Houses that carried the union on March 28, 1800. The Act of Union received the royal assent on Aug. 1, 1800, and it came into effect on Jan. 1, 1801. Henceforth, the monarch was called the king (or queen) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The union remained until the recognition of the Irish Free State (excluding six of the counties of the northern province of Ulster) by the Anglo-Irish treaty concluded on Dec. 6, 1921. The union officially ended on Jan. 15, 1922, when it was ratified by the Provisional Government led by Michael Collins in Ireland. (On May 29, 1953, by proclamation, Elizabeth II became known as queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.)

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Treaty of Luneville
 

The Treaty of Luneville was signed on 9 February 1801 between the French Republic and the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, negotiating both on behalf of his own domains and of the Holy Roman Empire.

 

The Holy Roman Empire after the Treaty of Lunéville
 
 
Joseph Bonaparte signed for France, and Count Ludwig von Cobenzl, the Austrian foreign minister, signed for the Emperor.

The Austrian army had been defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800 and then by Moreau at the Battle of Hohenlinden on 3 December.

Forced to sue for peace, they signed another in a series of treaties. This treaty (along with the Treaty of Amiens) marked the end of the Second Coalition; after this treaty, Great Britain was the sole nation still at war with France (but only for another year).

Treaty terms
The Treaty of Lunéville declared that "there shall be, henceforth and forever, peace, amity, and good understanding" among the parties.
  The treaty required Austria to enforce the conditions of the earlier Treaty of Campo Formio (concluded on 17 October 1797). Certain Austrian holdings in Germany were relinquished; French control was extended to the left bank of the Rhine, "in complete sovereignty", but they renounced any claim to territories east of the Rhine. Contested boundaries in Italy were set, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was awarded to the French, but the duke was compensated with lands in Germany. The two parties agreed to respect the independence of the Batavian, Cisalpine, Helvetic and Ligurian republics. In Northern Italy, the two semi-independent territories of the bishoprics of Trento and Brixen were secularized and annexed to Austria.

The Austrians re-entered the Napoleonic Wars in 1805.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1801
 
 
Jefferson Thomas inaugurated President of U.S. at Washington
 
 
     
 
Thomas Jefferson
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Czar Paul I assassinated; succeeded by Alexander I (-1825)
 
 
Alexander I
 

Alexander I, Russian in full Aleksandr Pavlovich (born December 23 [December 12, Old Style], 1777, St. Petersburg, Russia—died December 1 [November 19], 1825, Taganrog), emperor of Russia (1801–25), who alternately fought and befriended Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars but who ultimately (1813–15) helped form the coalition that defeated the emperor of the French. He took part in the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), drove for the establishment of the Holy Alliance (1815), and took part in the conferences that followed.

 

Portrait of Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich, 1800
  Early life
Aleksandr Pavlovich was the first child of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich (later Paul I) and Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna, a princess of Württemberg-Montbéliard. His grandmother, the reigning Empress Catherine II (the Great), took him from his parents and raised him herself to prepare him to succeed her. She was determined to disinherit her own son, Pavel, who repelled her by his instability.

A friend and disciple of the philosophers of the French Enlightenment, Catherine invited Denis Diderot, the encyclopaedist, to become Alexander’s private tutor. When he declined, she chose Frédéric-César La Harpe, a Swiss citizen, a republican by conviction, and an excellent educator. He inspired deep affection in his pupil and permanently shaped his flexible and open mind.

As an adolescent, Alexander was allowed to visit his father at Gatchina, on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, away from the court. There, Pavel had created a ridiculous little kingdom where he devoted himself to military exercises and parades. Alexander received his military training there under the direction of a tough and rigid officer, Aleksey Arakcheyev, who was faithfully attached to him and whom Alexander loved throughout his life.

Alexander’s education was not continued after he was 16, when his grandmother married him to Princess Louise of Baden-Durlach, who was 14, in 1793. The precocious marriage had been arranged to guarantee descendants to the Romanov dynasty, and it was unhappy from the beginning. The sweet and charming girl who became Yelisaveta Alekseyevna was loved by everyone except her husband.

 
 
Catherine had already written the manifesto that deprived her son of his rights and designated her grandson as the heir to the throne, when she died suddenly on November 17 (November 6, Old Style), 1796. Alexander, who knew of it, did not dare to disclose the manifesto, and Pavel became emperor.
 
 

Elizabeth Alexeievna by Madame Vigee Le Brun, 1795
Louise of Baden (13/24 January 1779 – 4 May/16 May 1826) was, as Elizabeth Alexeievna, Empress of Russia during her marriage with Emperor Alexander I.
  Ascent to the throne
Paul I’s reign was a dark period for Russia. The monarch’s tyrannical and bizarre behaviour led to a plot against him by certain nobles and military men, and he was assassinated during the night of March 23 (March 11, Old Style), 1801. Alexander became tsar the next day. The plotters had let him in on the secret, assuring him they would not kill his father but would only demand his abdication. Alexander believed them or, at least, wished to believe that all would go well.

After the darkness into which Paul had plunged Russia, Alexander appeared to his subjects as a radiant dawn. He was handsome, strong, pleasant, humane, and full of enthusiasm. He wanted his reign to be a happy one and dreamed of great and necessary reforms.

With four friends, who were of noble families but motivated by liberal ideas—Prince Adam Czartoryski, Count Pavel Stroganov, Count Viktor Kochubey, and Nikolay Novosiltsev—he formed the Private Committee (Neglasny Komitet). Its avowed purpose was to frame “good laws, which are the source of the well-being of the Nation.”

Alexander and his close advisers corrected many of the injustices of the preceding reign and made many administrative improvements. Their principal achievement was the initiation of a vast plan for public education, which involved the formation of many schools of different types, institutions for training teachers, and the founding of three new universities. Nevertheless, despite the humanitarian ideas inculcated in him by La Harpe and despite his own wish to make his people happy, Alexander lacked the energy necessary to carry out the most urgent reform, the abolition of serfdom.

 
 
The institution of serfdom was, in the tsar’s own words, “a degradation” that kept Russia in a disastrously backward state. But to liberate the serfs, who composed three-quarters of the population, would arouse the hostility of their noble masters, who did not want to lose the slaves on whom their wealth and comfort depended. Serfdom was a continuing burden on the Russians. It prevented modernization of the country, which was at least a century behind the rest of Europe.

Out of a sincere desire to innovate, Alexander considered a constitution and “the limitation of the autocracy,” but he recoiled before the danger of imposing sudden change on a nobility that rejected it. Moreover, he was a visionary who could not transform his dreams into reality. Because of his unstable personality, he would become intoxicated by the notion of grand projects, while balking at carrying them out. Finally, the “Western” theoretical education of Alexander and his young friends had not prepared them for gaining a clear vision of the realities of Russian life.

 
 
Early foreign policy
Displaying an astonishing inconstancy, Alexander abandoned his internal reforms to devote himself to foreign policy, to which he would commit the major portion of his reign. Sensitive to fluctuations in continental politics, he was a “European” who hoped for peace and unity. He felt that he was called to be a mediator, like his grandmother, who had been called the “Arbiter of Europe.”

As soon as he came to power, Alexander resealed an alliance with England that had been broken by Paul I. He nonetheless maintained good relations with France in the hope of “moderating” Bonaparte by restraining his spirit of conquest. A feeling of chivalry attached Alexander to the king of Prussia, Frederick William III, and to Queen Louisa, and a treaty of friendship was signed with Prussia. Later, he got on good terms with Austria. His idealism persuaded him that these alliances would lead to a European federation.

Napoleon had other ideas. His territorial encroachments, his desire for world hegemony, and his coronation in 1804 as emperor forced Alexander to declare war against him. Assuming the role of commander in chief, he relied on the Austrian generals and scorned the counsel of the Russian general Prince Kutuzov, a shrewd strategist. The Russians and Austrians were defeated at Austerlitz, in Moravia, on December 2, 1805, and the emperor Francis II was forced to sign the peace treaty, since his territory was occupied by the enemy. Russia remained intact behind its frontiers. Moreover, Napoleon wanted to spare the tsar; he hoped to gain his friendship and to divide the world with him. Such a notion did not occur to Alexander, who wanted revenge.

In 1806 Napoleon defeated Prussia at Jena and Auerstädt. Despite the warnings of both his mother and his advisers, the tsar rushed to the aid of his friend. The battles were fought in East Prussia. After a partial success at Eylau, the Russian army, under General Bennigsen, was decimated at Friedland on June 14, 1807. Then occurred the meeting (June 25) of the two emperors on a raft in the middle of the Niemen off Tilsit (now Sovetsk). The sequel of these events demonstrates that, in the course of the Tilsit interview, it was the tsar of Russia who deceived the emperor of the French. Seeking to gain time he used his charm to play the admiring friend. He accepted all the victor’s conditions, promising to break with England, to adhere to the Continental System set up by Napoleon to isolate and weaken Great Britain, and to recognize the creation of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, formed from the part of Poland given to Prussia during the Partition of 1795. In “recompense” Napoleon gave Alexander liberty to expand at the expense of Sweden and Turkey.

  From Tilsit to the 1812 invasion
Most Russians were angered and humiliated by the Tilsit Alliance; they thought that breaking off trade with England would inevitably create a disastrous economic situation, but Alexander kept his plans secret and bided his time. He reorganized and strengthened his armies with the competent aid of Arakcheyev, the instructor from Gatchina who had become his indispensable colleague. Meanwhile, the monarch’s popularity dropped; all levels of the population accused him of having uselessly sacrificed Russian blood and of ruining the country.

Alexander once again turned his attention to internal reforms. He placed responsibility for them on a remarkable legal writer, Mikhail Mikhaylovich Speransky. Of modest origins, Speransky’s talent caused him to rise rapidly. He conceived a vast plan for total reorganization of Russian legal structures and authored a complete collection and a systematically coordinated digest of Russian laws. Only a very small part of his great plan was applied, for once again Alexander withdrew from any practical fulfillment, partly because foreign events distracted him from rebuilding his empire on new foundations.

Despite the strong Russian reaction against France, the tsar again met Napoleon, at Erfurt in Saxony, in 1808, where he showed himself to have become distant from his Tilsit ally. When a new war broke out between France and Austria in 1809, Alexander, despite his commitments, did not intervene in Napoleon’s behalf, contenting himself with feigning a military advance.

Napoleon reproached the tsar for trading with England under cover of neutral vessels and for refusing him the hand of his sister, the grand duchess Anna Pavlovna.

For his part Alexander tried in vain to obtain from Napoleon a commitment not to create an independent Kingdom of Poland. When Napoleon annexed the German territories on the Baltic, including the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, a fief of the tsar’s brother-in-law, Alexander protested against what he considered a personal offense.

All of this was a pretext for military preparations on both sides. A violent shift of opinion against Napoleon appeared in Russia. The hostility toward France among the court compelled Alexander to exile his legal adviser, Speransky, an admirer of Napoleon and his Code.

Changing his opinions yet again, the tsar adopted the reactionary ideas of a patriotic group dominated by his favourite sister, the grand duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna. He judged that, under the conditions then prevailing, Russia had best keep its traditional institutions.

 
 

Meeting of Napoleon and Alexander I in Tilsit, a 19th-century painting
 
 
The defeat of Napoleon
Napoleon and his Grand Army of 600,000 men invaded Russia on June 24, 1812. The conflict that ensued was justly called the Patriotic War by the Russians; in it, the strong resistance and outstanding endurance of an entire people were displayed. The war transformed Alexander, suffusing him with energy and determination. The French advanced as rapidly as the Russians retreated, drawing them away from their bases. Napoleon thought that, once Moscow was taken, the tsar would capitulate. But after the bloody Battle of Borodino, Napoleon entered a largely deserted Moscow, which was soon nearly destroyed by fire. The conqueror had to camp in a ruined city where he could not remain, and Alexander did not sue for peace.
 
 

Equestrian Portrait by Franz Kruger
  The tsar, meanwhile, under pressure of public opinion, had named Kutuzov, whom he detested, supreme commander. The old warrior, through brilliant strategy and with the aid of heroic partisans, pursued the enemy and drove him from the country. The retreat from Russia, combined with Napoleon’s reverses in Spain, precipitated his downfall.

Alexander had declared, “Napoleon or I: from now on we cannot reign together!” He said that the burning of Moscow had “illuminated his soul.” He called Europe to arms, to rescue the people who had been enslaved by Napoleon’s conquests. His enthusiasm, perseverance, and steadfast determination to triumph aroused the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria, and the enheartened allies were victorious at Leipzig in October 1813. This “Battle of Nations” could have been decisive, but Alexander wanted no peace until he reached Paris. He entered Paris triumphantly in March 1814. Napoleon abdicated, and the tsar reluctantly accepted the restoration of the Bourbons, for whom he had little esteem, and imposed a constitutional charter on the new ruler, Louis XVIII. Alexander showed his generosity toward France, alleviating its condition as a defeated country and protesting that he had made war on Napoleon and not on the French people.

He had become the most powerful sovereign in Europe and the arbiter of its destinies, as he had wished. He inspired the convening of the greatest international congress in history in Vienna, in the autumn of 1814. It was a time of sumptuous feasts and also of diplomatic intrigues and bitter quarrels.

 
 
The tsar’s allies, whom he had saved, now feared his power and opposed the annexation of Poland to Russia. It was his only claim in reward for what he had done, and he was determined to achieve it.

When Napoleon returned from his exile in Elba and regained the throne, the war resumed, ending with his final defeat by the allies at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. Again the victorious sovereigns met in Paris to frame a peace treaty, and once again Alexander intervened on behalf of France.
 
 

Portrait of Alexander I (1824) by George Dawe
  The final decade
This period marked a turning point for the tsar. Since the invasion of his country, he had become religious; he read the Bible daily and prayed often. It was his frequent visits with the pietistic visionary Barbara Juliane Krüdener in Paris that turned him into a mystic.

She considered herself a prophetess sent to the tsar by God, and, if her personal influence was of brief duration, Alexander nevertheless retained his newly found evangelical fervour and came to profess a nondogmatic “universal religion” strongly influenced by Quaker and Moravian beliefs.

Alexander obtained Poland, set it up as a kingdom with himself as king, and gave it a constitution, declaring his attachment to “free institutions” and his desire to “extend them throughout all the countries dependent on him.” These words awakened great hopes in Russia, but, when the tsar returned home after a long absence, he was no longer thinking of reform.

He devoted his entire attention to the Russian Bible Society and to an unfortunate innovation, the military colonies, by which he attempted to settle soldiers and their families on the land so that they might enjoy more stable lives. These ill-conceived colonies brought great suffering to Russian soldiers and peasants alike.

After the Second Treaty of Paris, Alexander I, inspired by piety, formed the Holy Alliance, which was supposed to bring about a peace based on Christian love to the monarchs and peoples of Europe. It is possible to see in the alliance the beginnings of a European federation, but it would have been a federation with ecumenical, rather than political, foundations. The idealistic tsar’s vision came to a sad end, for the alliance became a league of monarchs against their peoples.

 
 
Its members—following up the congress with additional meetings at Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach (Ljubljana), and Verona—revealed themselves as the champions of despotism and the defenders of an order maintained by arms. When a series of uprisings against despotic regimes in Italy and Spain broke out, the “holy allies” responded with bloody repression. Alexander himself was badly shaken by the mutiny of his Semyonovsky regiment and thought he detected the presence of revolutionary radicalism.

This marked the end of his liberal dreams, for, from then on, all revolt appeared to him as a rebellion against God. He shocked Russia by refusing to support the Greeks, his coreligionists, when they rose against Turkish tyranny, maintaining they were rebels like any others.
  The Austrian chancellor, Prince Metternich, to whom the tsar abandoned the conduct of European affairs, shamelessly exploited Alexander’s state of mind.

After his return to Russia, he left everything in Arakcheyev’s hands. For Alexander, it was a period of lassitude, discouragement, and dark thoughts. For Russia, it was a period of reaction, obscurantism, and struggle against real and imagined subversion. Alexander thought he saw “the reign of Satan” everywhere. In opposition, secret societies spread, composed of young men, mostly from the military, who sought to regenerate and liberalize the country. Plots were made. Alexander was warned of them, but he refused to act decisively.
His crown weighed heavily on him, and he did not hide from his family and close friends his desire to abdicate.

 
 

Death of Alexander I in Taganrog (19th century lithograph
 
 
The empress was ill, and Alexander decided to take her to Taganrog, on the Azov Sea. This dismal, windy townlet was a strange watering place. The royal pair, however, who had been so long estranged, enjoyed a calm happiness there. Soon after, during a tour of inspection in Crimea, Alexander contracted pneumonia or malaria and died on his return to Taganrog.

The tsar’s sudden death, his mysticism, and the bewilderment and the blunders of his entourage all went into the creation of the legend of his “departure” to a Siberian retreat. The refusal to open the tsar’s coffin after his death has only served to deepen the mystery.

Daria Olivier

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
1801
 
 
Battle of Copenhagen
 

The Battle of Copenhagen (Danish: slaget på Reden) was an engagement which saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Vice Admiral Nelson Horatio led the main attack. He famously is reputed to have disobeyed Sir Hyde Parker's order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. But Parker's signals had given him permission to withdraw at his discretion, and Nelson declined. His action in proceeding resulted in the destruction of many of the Dano-Norwegian ships before a truce was agreed. Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson's hardest-fought battle.

 

The Battle of Copenhagen, as painted by Nicholas Pocock. The British line is diagonally across the foreground, the city of Copenhagen in the background and the Danish line between. The ships in the left foreground are British bomb vessels.
 
 
Background
The battle was the result of multiple failures of diplomacy in the latter half of the 18th century. At the beginning of 1801, during the French Revolutionary Wars, Britain's principal advantage over France was its naval superiority. The Royal Navy searched neutral ships trading with French ports, seizing their cargoes if they were deemed to be trading with France. It was in the British interest to guarantee its naval supremacy and all trade advantages that resulted from it. The eccentric Russian Tsar Paul, after having been a British ally, arranged a League of Armed Neutrality comprising Denmark-Norway, Sweden, Prussia, and Russia, to enforce free trade with France. The British viewed the League to be very much in the French interest and a serious threat. The League was hostile to the British blockade, and according to the British, its existence threatened the supply of timber and naval stores from Scandinavia.

In early 1801, the British government assembled a fleet at Great Yarmouth, with the goal of breaking up the League. The British needed to act before the Baltic Sea thawed and released the Russian fleet from its bases at Kronstadt and Reval (now Tallinn). If the Russian fleet joined with the Swedish and Dano-Norwegian fleets, the combined fleets would form a formidable force of up to 123 ships-of-the-line. The British fleet was under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Vice Admiral Lord Nelson as second-in-command. Nelson was in poor favour due to a public scandal involving his relationship with Emma, Lady Hamilton. Parker, aged 61, had just married an eighteen-year-old and was reluctant to leave port in Great Yarmouth.

Frustrated by the delay, Nelson sent a letter to Captain Thomas Troubridge, a friend and a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty. This prompted the Earl of St Vincent (First Lord of the Admiralty) to send a private note, which resulted in the fleet sailing from Yarmouth on 12 March. Orders were sent to Parker to go to Copenhagen and detach Denmark from the League by 'amicable arrangement or by actual hostilities', to be followed by 'an immediate and vigorous attack' on the Russians at Reval and then Kronstadt.

  The British fleet reached the Skaw (Danish: Skagen) on 19 March, where they met a British diplomat, Nicholas Vansittart, who told them that the Danes had rejected an ultimatum.

Although the Admiralty had instructed Parker to frustrate the League, by force if necessary, he was a naturally cautious person and moved slowly. He wanted to blockade the Baltic despite the danger of the combination of fleets; Nelson wanted to ignore Denmark and Sweden, who were both reluctant partners in the alliance, and instead sail to the Baltic to fight the Russians. In the end Nelson was able to persuade Sir Hyde to attack the Danish fleet currently concentrated off Copenhagen. Promised naval support for the Danes from Karlskrona, in Sweden, did not arrive perhaps because of adverse winds. The Prussians had only minimal naval forces and also could not assist. On 30 March, the British force passed through the narrows between Denmark and Sweden, sailing close to the Swedish coast to put themselves as far from the Danish guns as possible; fortunately for the British, the Swedish batteries remained silent.

Attacking the Danish fleet would have been difficult as Parker's delay in sailing had allowed the Danes to prepare their positions well. Most of the Danish ships were not fitted for sea but were moored along the shore with old ships (hulks), no longer fit for service at sea, but still powerfully armed, as a line of floating batteries off the eastern coast of the island of Amager, in front of the city in the King's Channel. The northern end of the line terminated at the Tre Kroner (Three Crowns — Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, referring to the Kalmar Union) forts armed with 68 guns (equal to twice the broadside of a ship-of-the-line). North of the fort, in the entrance to Copenhagen harbour, were two ships-of-the-line, a large frigate, and two brigs, all rigged for sea, and two more hulks. Batteries covered the water between the Danish line and the shore, and further out to sea a large shoal, the Middle Ground, constricted the channel. The British had no reliable charts or pilots, so Captain Thomas Hardy spent most of the night of 31 March taking soundings in the channel up to the Danish line. Even so, the British ships were not able to locate the deepest part of the channel properly and so kept too far to seaward.

 
 

The Battle of Copenhagen. Painting by Christian Molsted
 
 
Battle
 
Preparations
Parker gave Nelson the twelve ships-of-the-line with the shallowest drafts, and all the smaller ships in the fleet. Parker himself stayed to the north-east of the battle with the heavier ships – whose deeper drafts did not allow them to safely enter the channel – screening Nelson from possible external interference and moving towards Copenhagen to engage the northern defences. Nelson transferred his command from the large 98-gun HMS St George to the shallower 74-gun HMS Elephant for this reason.

On 30 March Nelson, and his second-in-command, Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, accompanied by Captain Domett and the commanding officer of the troops, sailed in the hired lugger Lark to reconnoitre the Danish defences at Copenhagen. They found the defences to be strong and so spent the evening discussing the plan. Fixed batteries had a significant advantage over ship borne cannon owing to their greater stability and larger guns, and the Danes could reinforce their ships during the battle. On the other hand, their ships were a motley collection, many of them small, and out-gunned if engaged by the whole of Nelson's force.

Nelson's plan was for the British ships to approach the weaker, southern end of the Danish defences in a line parallel to the Danish one. As the foremost ship drew alongside a Danish ship, it would anchor and engage that ship. The remainder of the line would pass outside the engagement until the next British ship drew alongside the next Danish ship, and so on. The frigate HMS Desirée, together with small gun-brigs, would rake the Danish line from the south, and a force of frigates, commanded by Captain Edward Riou of HMS Amazon, would attack the northern end of the line. Troops would land and assault the Tre Kroner fortress once the fleet had subdued the Danish line of ships.
Bomb vessels would sit outside the British line and bombard the Danes by firing over it. Should the British be unable to subdue the stronger, northern defences, the destruction of the southern ships would be enough to allow the bomb vessels to approach within range of the city and force negotiations to prevent the bombardment of the city.

  Action
With a southerly wind on 2 April, Nelson picked his way through the shoals. However, HMS Agamemnon ran aground before entering the channel, and took no part in the battle. Then HMS Russell and HMS Bellona ran aground on the Middle Ground, severely restricting their role in the battle. The loss of the three vessels required hurried changes in the line and weakened the force's northern end.

The Danish batteries started firing at 10:05 am, the first half of the British fleet were engaged in about half an hour, and the battle was general by 11:30 am. Once the British line was in place there was very little manoeuvring. The British ships anchored by the stern about a cable from the line of Danish ships and batteries, which was relatively long range, and the two exchanged broadsides until a ship ceased firing. The British encountered heavy resistance, partly because they had not spotted the low-lying floating batteries, and partly because of the courage with which the Danes fought. The northern Danish ships, which were rigged and manned, did not enter the battle but remained on station as reserve units, even though the wind direction forced Parker's squadron to approach only slowly.

Signal to retreat
Admiral Parker could see little of the battle owing to gun smoke, but could see the signals on the three grounded British ships, with Bellona and Russell flying signals of distress and Agamemnon a signal of inability to proceed. Thinking that Nelson might have fought to a stand-still but be unable to retreat without orders (the Articles of War demanded that all ranks 'do their utmost' against the enemy in battle), at 1:30pm Parker told his flag captain, "I will make the signal of recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in condition to continue the action, he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be imputed to him."

Nelson ordered that the signal be acknowledged, but not repeated. He turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and said "You know, Foley, I only have one eye — I have the right to be blind sometimes," and then, holding his telescope to his blind eye, said "I really do not see the signal!"

 
 
Rear Admiral Graves repeated the signal, but in a place invisible to most other ships while keeping Nelson's 'close action' signal at his masthead. Of Nelson's captains, only Riou, who could not see Nelson's flagship HMS Elephant, followed Parker's signal. Riou withdrew his force, which was then attacking the Tre Kroner fortress, exposing himself to heavy fire that killed him.
 
 
Conclusion
It was at this time that the battle swung decisively to the British, as their superior gunnery took effect. The guns of the dozen southernmost Danish ships had started to fall silent owing to the damage they had sustained, and the fighting moved northward. According to British eyewitness accounts, much of the Danish line had fallen silent by 2 pm. The cessation of firing left the way open for the British bomb vessels to approach Copenhagen. In addition, the reinforcements of the ships from the shore batteries were causing the latter to become ineffective.

Nyborg tried to leave the line with Aggershuus in tow, but both sank. The most northerly ship, the frigate Hjælperen, successfully withdrew. The Danish commander, Commodore Olfert Fischer, moved from Dannebrog at 11:30 am, when it caught fire, to Holsteen. When Indfodsretten, immediately north of Holsteen, struck its colours at about 2:30 pm, he moved on to the Tre Kroner fortress. There he engaged three of Parker's ships,[clarification needed] which had lost their manoeuvrability after being badly damaged and had drifted within range. Indfødsretten resumed firing after Captain Schrodersee was ferried to it and took command of the ship. Perhaps because of inexperienced crews, several Danish ships fired on British boats sent out to them after their officers had signalled their surrender. Nelson said that he "must either send on shore and stop this irregular proceeding, or send in our fire ships and burn them" and went to his cabin to write a note to the Danes. He sent it with a Danish-speaking officer, Captain Sir Frederick Thesiger, under a flag of truce to the Danish-Norwegian regent, Crown Prince Frederik, who had been watching the battle from the ramparts of the Citadel.

 
Sketch of the battle
 
 
The note read:

To the Brothers of Englishmen, the Danes
Lord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark when she is no longer resisting, but if firing is continued on the part of Denmark, Lord Nelson will be obliged to set on fire the floating batteries he has taken, without having the power of saving the brave Danes who have defended them.

—Nelson

Some British and Danish officers thought the offer of a truce a skilful ruse de guerre, and some historians have suggested that the battle would have been lost if it had not been adopted. Many of the British ships, like many of the Danish ships in the battle, could not carry on fighting much longer. Furthermore, neither side had deployed the ships which they both held in reserve, of which the Danish reserve was arguably the larger, and the truce effectually prevented this deployment at a moment where the British fleet was exposed. Though the British had lost no ships, most were severely damaged and three ships of the line had lost all their manoeuvrability and had at the time of the truce drifted within the range of Tre Kroner's heavy guns which, like the other fortresses, had until then been out of range of the British ships.

All action ceased when Crown Prince Frederick sent his Adjutant General, Hans Lindholm (a Danish member of parliament), asking for the reason for Nelson's letter.

He was asked to put it in writing, which he did, in English, while making the joke:

If your guns are not better pointed than your pens, then you will make little impression on Copenhagen.

In reply, Nelson wrote a note:

Lord Nelson's object in sending the Flag of Truce was humanity; he therefore consents that hostilities shall cease, and that the wounded Danes may be taken on shore. And Lord Nelson will take his prisoners out of the Vessels, and burn and carry off his prizes as he shall see fit.

Lord Nelson, with humble duty to His Royal Highness the Prince of Denmark, will consider this the greatest victory he has ever gained, if it may be the cause of a happy reconciliation and union between his own most gracious Sovereign, and His Majesty the King of Denmark.

—Nelson,

which was sent back to the Crown Prince. He then referred Lindholm to Parker on HMS London. Following him there at 4 pm, a twenty-four hour ceasefire was agreed.

  Aftermath
After fighting had ended, the Danish flagship Dannebrog exploded at 4:30 pm, killing 250 men. By the end of the afternoon, three more badly-damaged British ships ran aground, including Elephant. The Danish-Norwegian ships had been partly manned by volunteers, many having little or no naval experience, and as they were not all listed after the battle, it is uncertain what the exact Danish-Norwegian losses were. Estimates vary between 1,135 to 2,215 captured, killed or wounded. The official report by Olfert Fischer estimated the Danish-Norwegian casualties to be between 1,600 and 1,800 captured, killed or wounded. According to the official returns recorded by each British ship, and repeated in dispatches from Nelson and forwarded by Parker to the Admiralty, British casualties were 264 killed and 689 wounded.

Of the Danish ships engaged in the battle, two had sunk, one had exploded, and twelve had been captured. The British could not spare men for manning prizes as they feared that further battles were to come. They burned eleven of the captured ships, and only one, Holsteen, was sailed to England with the wounded under surgeon William Fergusson. Holsteen was then taken into service with the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Holstein (later HMS Nassau).

Subsequent events
The next day, Nelson landed in Copenhagen to open negotiations. Colonel Stewart reported that "the population showed an admixture of admiration, curiosity and displeasure". In a two-hour meeting with the Crown Prince (who spoke English), Nelson was able to secure an indefinite armistice. He then tried to convince first Fischer (whom he had known in the West Indies), and then the Prince, of British protection against the Russians. Negotiations continued by letter and on the 8th April Nelson returned in person with a formal agreement.

The one sticking point out of the seven articles was a sixteen-week armistice to allow action against the Russians. At this point Stewart claims that one of the Danes turned to another and said in French that disagreement might lead to a renewal of hostilities. "Renew hostilities!" responded Nelson, and turning to his interpreter said "Tell him that we are ready in a moment; ready to bombard this very night!" Hurried apologies followed (the British fleet now occupied positions that would allow the bombardment of Copenhagen) and agreement was reached and signed the next day. The armistice was reduced to fourteen weeks, but during it Armed Neutrality would be suspended and the British were to have free access to Copenhagen. Danish prisoners were also paroled. In the final hour of negotiations, the Danes found out (but not the British) that Tsar Paul had been assassinated. This made the end of the League of Armed Neutrality very likely and freed the Danes from the fear of Russian reprisals against them, allowing them to easily come to agreement. The final peace agreement was then signed on 23 October 1801.

 
 
On the 12th April, Parker sailed to Karlskrona and on the British approach, the Swedish fleet returned to the port where Parker attempted to persuade them to also leave the League. Parker refused to sail into the eastern Baltic and instead returned to Copenhagen, where he found that news of his lack of vigour had reached London. On the 5 May he was recalled and ordered to hand his command over to Nelson. Nelson sailed eastwards again and leaving six ships-of-the-line at Karlskrona, he arrived at Reval on 14 May to find that the ice had melted and the Russian fleet had departed for Kronstadt. He also found out that negotiations for ending the Armed Neutrality had started and so withdrew on 17 May. As a result of the battle, Lord Nelson was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile.

This was not to be the end of the Danish-Norwegian conflict with the British. In 1807 similar circumstances led to another British attack, in the Second Battle of Copenhagen.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
     
 

Horatio Nelson
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
English enter Cairo; Fr. troops leave Egypt, which the Turks recover
 
 
see also: French Campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801)
 
 
     
 
Napoleon I

Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Gauss: "Disquisitiones arithmeticae"
 

The Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (Latin: Arithmetical Investigations) is a textbook of number theory written in Latin by Gauss Carl Friedrich in 1798 when Gauss was 21 and first published in 1801 when he was 24. In this book Gauss brings together results in number theory obtained by mathematicians such as Fermat, Euler, Lagrange and Legendre and adds important new results of his own.

 
Scope
The Disquisitiones covers both elementary number theory and parts of the area of mathematics now called algebraic number theory. However, Gauss did not explicitly recognize the concept of a group, which is central to modern algebra, so he did not use this term. His own title for his subject was Higher Arithmetic. In his Preface to the Disquisitiones Gauss describes the scope of the book as follows:

The inquiries which this volume will investigate pertain to that part of Mathematics which concerns itself with integers.

 
 
Contents
The book is divided into seven sections, which are:

Section I. Congruent Numbers in General
Section II. Congruences of the First Degree
Section III. Residues of Powers
Section IV. Congruences of the Second Degree
Section V. Forms and Indeterminate Equations of the Second Degree
Section VI. Various Applications of the Preceding Discussions
Section VII. Equations Defining Sections of a Circle.

Sections I to III are essentially a review of previous results, including Fermat's little theorem, Wilson's theorem and the existence of primitive roots. Although few of the results in these first sections are original, Gauss was the first mathematician to bring this material together and treat it in a systematic way. He also realized the importance of the property of unique factorization (assured by the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, first studied by Euclid), which he restates and proves using modern tools. From Section IV onwards, much of the work is original. Section IV itself develops a proof of quadratic reciprocity; Section V, which takes up over half of the book, is a comprehensive analysis of binary and ternary quadratic forms. Section VI includes two different primality tests. Finally, Section VII is an analysis of cyclotomic polynomials, which concludes by giving the criteria that determine which regular polygons are constructible i.e. can be constructed with a compass and unmarked straight edge alone. Gauss started to write an eighth section on higher order congruences, but he did not complete this, and it was published separately after his death. The Disquisitiones was one of the last mathematical works to be written in scholarly Latin (an English translation was not published until 1965).

 
Title page of Gauss's Disquisitiones Arithmeticae
 
 
Importance
Before the Disquisitiones was published, number theory consisted of a collection of isolated theorems and conjectures. Gauss brought the work of his predecessors together with his own original work into a systematic framework, filled in gaps, corrected unsound proofs, and extended the subject in numerous ways.

The logical structure of the Disquisitiones (theorem statement followed by proof, followed by corollaries) set a standard for later texts. While recognising the primary importance of logical proof, Gauss also illustrates many theorems with numerical examples.

The Disquisitiones was the starting point for the work of other nineteenth century European mathematicians including Ernst Kummer, Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet and Richard Dedekind. Many of the annotations given by Gauss are in effect announcements of further research of his own, some of which remained unpublished.

  They must have appeared particularly cryptic to his contemporaries; we can now read them as containing the germs of the theories of L-functions and complex multiplication, in particular.
Gauss' Disquisitiones continued to exert influence in the 20th century. For example, in section V, article 303, Gauss summarized his calculations of class numbers of proper primitive binary quadratic forms, and conjectured that he had found all of them with class numbers 1, 2, and 3. This was later interpreted as the determination of imaginary quadratic number fields with even discriminant and class number 1,2 and 3, and extended to the case of odd discriminant. Sometimes referred to as the Class number problem, this more general question was eventually confirmed in 1986 (the specific question Gauss asked was confirmed by Landau in 1902 , for class number one). In section VII, article 358, Gauss proved what can be interpreted as the first non-trivial case of the Riemann hypothesis for curves over finite fields (the Hasse–Weil theorem).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1801
 
 
Newman John Henry
 

Blessed John Henry Newman, (born Feb. 21, 1801, London, Eng.—died Aug. 11, 1890, Birmingham, Warwick; beatified Sept. 19, 2010; feast day October 9), influential churchman and man of letters of the 19th century, who led the Oxford Movement in the Church of England and later became a cardinal-deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. His eloquent books, notably Parochial and Plain Sermons (1834–42), Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church (1837), and University Sermons (1843), revived emphasis on the dogmatic authority of the church and urged reforms of the Church of England after the pattern of the original “catholic,” or universal, church of the first five centuries ad. By 1845 he came to view the Roman Catholic Church as the true modern development from the original body.

 
Early life and education
Newman was born in London in 1801. After pursuing his education in an evangelical home and at Trinity College, Oxford, he was made a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, in 1822, vice principal of Alban Hall in 1825, and vicar of St. Mary’s, Oxford, in 1828. Under the influence of the clergyman John Keble and Richard Hurrell Froude, Newman became a convinced high churchman (one of those who emphasized the Anglican church’s continuation of the ancient Christian tradition, particularly as regards the episcopate, priesthood, and sacraments).
 
 

Portrait of John Henry Newman by John Everett Millais, 1881
  Association with the Oxford Movement
When the Oxford Movement began Newman was its effective organizer and intellectual leader, supplying the most acute thought produced by it. A High Church movement within the Church of England, the Oxford Movement was started at Oxford in 1833 with the object of stressing the Catholic elements in the English religious tradition and of reforming the Church of England.

Newman’s editing of the Tracts for the Times and his contributing of 24 tracts among them were less significant for the influence of the movement than his books, especially the Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church (1837), the classic statement of the Tractarian doctrine of authority; the University Sermons (1843), similarly classical for the theory of religious belief; and above all his Parochial and Plain Sermons (1834–42), which in their published form took the principles of the movement, in their best expression, into the country at large.

In 1838 and 1839 Newman was beginning to exercise far-reaching influence in the Church of England. His stress upon the dogmatic authority of the church was felt to be a much-needed reemphasis in a new liberal age. He seemed decisively to know what he stood for and where he was going, and in the quality of his personal devotion his followers found a man who practiced what he preached. Moreover, he had been endowed with the gift of writing sensitive and sometimes magical prose.

 
 
Newman was contending that the Church of England represented true catholicity and that the test of this catholicity (as against Rome upon the one side and what he termed “the popular Protestants” upon the other) lay in the teaching of the ancient and undivided church of the Fathers. From 1834 onward this middle way was beginning to be attacked on the ground that it undervalued the Reformation; and when in 1838–39 Newman and Keble published Froude’s Remains, in which the Reformation was violently denounced, moderate men began to suspect their leader. Their worst fears were confirmed in 1841 by Newman’s Tract 90, which, in reconciling the Thirty-nine Articles with the teaching of the ancient and undivided church, appeared to some to assert that the articles were not incompatible with the doctrines of the Council of Trent; and Newman’s extreme disciple, W.G. Ward, claimed that this was indeed the consequence. Bishop Richard Bagot of Oxford requested that the tracts be suspended; and in the distress of the consequent denunciations Newman increasingly withdrew into isolation, his confidence in himself shattered and his belief in the catholicity of the English church weakening. He moved out of Oxford to his chapelry of Littlemore, where he gathered a few of his intimate disciples and established a quasi-monastery.
 
 

John Henry Newman in 1844
  Conversion to Roman Catholicism
Newman resigned St. Mary’s, Oxford, on Sept. 18, 1843, and preached his last Anglican sermon (“The Parting of Friends”) in Littlemore Church a week later. He delayed long, because his intellectual integrity found an obstacle in the historical contrast between the early church and the modern Roman Catholic Church. Meditating upon the idea of development, a word then much discussed in connection with biological evolution, he applied the law of historical development to Christian society and tried to show (to himself as much as to others) that the early and undivided church had developed rightly into the modern Roman Catholic Church and that the Protestant churches represented a break in this development, both in doctrine and in devotion.

These meditations removed the obstacle, and on Oct. 9, 1845, he was received at Littlemore into the Roman Catholic Church, publishing a few weeks later his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.

Newman went to Rome to be ordained to the priesthood and after some uncertainties founded the Oratory at Birmingham in 1848. He was suspect among the more rigorous Roman Catholic clergy because of the quasi-liberal spirit that he seemed to have brought with him; and therefore, though in fact he was no liberal in any normal sense of the word, his early career as a Roman Catholic priest was marked by a series of frustrations. In 1852–53 he was convicted of libeling the apostate former Dominican priest Achilli. 

 
 
He was summoned to Ireland to be the first rector of the new Catholic university in Dublin, but the task was, under the circumstances, impossible, and the only useful result was his lectures on the Idea of a University (1852). His role as editor of the Roman Catholic monthly, the Rambler, and in the efforts of Lord Acton to encourage critical scholarship among Catholics, rendered him further suspect and caused a breach with H.E. Manning, who was soon to be the new archbishop of Westminster. One of Newman’s articles (“On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine”) was reported to Rome on suspicion of heresy. He attempted to found a Catholic hostel at Oxford but was thwarted by the opposition of Manning.
 
 
Apologia pro Vita Sua
From the sense of frustration engendered by these experiences Newman was delivered in 1864 by an unwarranted attack from Charles Kingsley upon his moral teaching. Kingsley in effect challenged him to justify the honesty of his life as an Anglican. And though he treated Kingsley more severely than some thought justified, the resulting history of his religious opinions, Apologia pro Vita Sua (1864; “A Defense of His Life”), was read and approved far beyond the limits of the Roman Catholic Church, and by its fairness, candour, interest, and the beauty of some passages, it recaptured the almost national status that he had once held.
  Though the Apologia was not liked by Manning and those who thought as he did because it seemed to show the quasi-liberal spirit that they feared, it assured Newman’s stature in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1870 he expressed opposition to a definition of papal infallibility, though himself a believer in the doctrine.

In the same year, he published his most important book of theology since 1845, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (commonly known as The Grammar of Assent), which contained a further consideration of the nature of faith and an attempt to show how faith can possess certainty when it rises out of evidence that can never be more than probable.
 
 
In 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him cardinal-deacon of St. George in Velabro. He died at Birmingham in 1890 and is buried (with his closest friend, Ambrose St. John) at Rednal, the rest house of the Oratory. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 19, 2010.
 
 

Photographic portrait of John Henry Newman
  Mind and character
Newman’s portraits show a face of sensitivity and aesthetic delicacy. He was a poet—most famous are his contributions in the Lyra Apostolica of his Anglican days, including the hymn “Lead, kindly light,” written in 1833 when he was becalmed in the strait between Sardinia and Corsica, and The Dream of Gerontius (1865), based upon the requiem offices and including such well-known hymns as “Praise to the holiest in the height” and “Firmly I believe and truly.”

He was always conscious of the limitations of prose and aware of the necessity for parable and analogy, and logical theologians sometimes found him elusive or thought him muddled.

But his was a mind of penetration and power, trained upon Aristotle, David Hume, Bishop Joseph Butler, and Richard Whately, and his superficial contempt for logic and dialectic blinded some readers into the error of thinking his mind illogical. His intellectual defect was rather that of oversubtlety; he enjoyed the niceties of argumentation, was inclined to be captivated by the twists of his own ingenuity, and had a habit of using the reductio ad absurdum in dangerous places. Newman’s mind at its best is probably to be found in parts of the Parochial and Plain Sermons or the University Sermons, at its worst in the Essay on Ecclesiastical Miracles of 1843.

His sensitive nature, though it made him lovable to his few intimates, made him prickly and resentful of public criticism, and his distresses under the suspicions of his opponents, whether Anglicans defending the Reformation or ultramontanes (exponents of centralized papal power) attacking his Roman theology, weakened his confidence and prevented him from becoming the leader that he was otherwise so well equipped to be.

 
 
Nevertheless, as the effective creator of the Oxford Movement, he helped to transform the Church of England, and, as the upholder of a theory of doctrinal development, he helped Catholic theology to become more reconciled to the findings of the new critical scholarship, while in England the Apologia was important in helping to break down the cruder prejudices of the English against Catholic priests. In both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, his influence was momentous.

W. Owen Chadwick

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Chateaubriand: "Atala"
 

Atala is an early novella by Chateaubriand Francois, first published on 12 germinal IX (2 April 1801). The work, inspired by his travels in North America, had an immense impact on early Romanticism, and went through five editions in its first year. It was adapted frequently for stage, and translated into many languages.

Along with René, it began as a discarded fragment from a long prose epic the author had composed between 1793 and 1799, Les Natchez, which would not be made public until 1826. In 1802 both Atala and René were published as part of Chateaubriand's Génie du christianisme.

 

Ultimos momentos de Atala by Luis Monroy
 
 
Themes
Contrasting the cruelty and warfare of the Indians with the saintliness of the missionary, it is intended as a condemnation of the philosophes' praise of the "noble savage"; the author insisted that the Natchez Indian Chactas was "more than half civilised", and positive values are considered more or less synonymous with Christianity and Europeanisation. Nevertheless the decision to portray at least two Indians sympathetically irked later generations of readers whose attitudes had been shaped by "scientific racism", and even today it is often assumed by casual readers (who do not read the prefaces) that Chateaubriand was a promulgator rather than a denouncer of the "noble savage" concept.

While the book's accuracy on the subject of the North American flora is a controversial matter, it seems to be agreed that Chateaubriand never saw much of the southern territories he describes, and his descriptions are based on naturalists' books.

The story is told from the point of view of the 73-year-old hero, Chactas, whose story is preserved by an oral tradition among the Seminoles.

  Plot summary
The frame story: A young disillusioned Frenchman, René, has joined an Indian tribe and married a woman named Céluta. On a hunting expedition, one moonlit night, René asks Chactas, the old man who adopted him, to relate the story of his life.

At the age of seventeen, the Natchez Chactas loses his father during a battle against the Muscogees. He flees to St Augustine, Florida, where he is raised in the household of the Spaniard Lopez. After 2½ years, he sets out for home, but is captured by the Muscogees and Seminoles. The chief Simagan sentences him to be burnt in their village.

The women take pity on him during the weeks of travel, and each night bring him gifts. Atala, the half-caste Christian daughter of Simagan, tries in vain to help him escape. On arrival at Apalachucla, his bonds are loosed and he is saved from death by her intervention. They run away and roam the wilderness for 27 days before being caught in a huge storm. While they are sheltering, Atala tells Chactas that her father was Lopez, and he realises that she is the daughter of his erstwhile benefactor.

 
 

The Funeral of Atala, by Girodet (1808)
 
 
Lightning strikes a tree close by, and they run at random before hearing a church bell. Encountering a dog, they are met by its owner, Père Aubry, and he leads them through the storm to his idyllic mission. Aubry's kindness and force of personality impress Chactas greatly.

Atala falls in love with Chactas, but cannot marry him as she has taken a vow of chastity. In despair she takes poison. Aubry assumes that she is merely ill, but in the presence of Chactas she reveals what she has done, and Chactas is filled with anger until the missionary tells them that in fact Christianity permits the renunciation of vows. They tend her, but she dies, and the day after the funeral, Chactas takes Aubry's advice and leaves the mission.

In an epilogue it is revealed that Aubry was later killed by Cherokees, and that, according to Chactas's granddaughter, neither René nor the aged Chactas survived a massacre during an uprising. The full account of Chactas's wanderings after Atala's death, in Les Natchez, gives a somewhat different version of their fates.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
see also: Chateaubriand
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Grabbe Christian Dietrich
 

Christian Dietrich Grabbe, (born Dec. 11, 1801, Detmold, Westphalia—died Sept. 12, 1836, Detmold), German dramatist whose plays anticipated Expressionism and film technique.

 

Christian Dietrich Grabbe
  Grabbe studied law in Leipzig (1820–22) and made unsuccessful attempts at acting and directing in Berlin. After quarrelling with the poet Heinrich Heine and members of Young Germany (a politically radical literary movement) and failing in attempts to get help from the Romantic writer Ludwig Tieck, he became a solicitor and then a military justiciary in Detmold. He was unhappily married in 1833 and was fired from his job in 1834 for negligence. After several months of poverty in Frankfurt, he went to Düsseldorf, where he lived as a freelance writer with the help of Karl Leberecht Immermann, with whom he later quarrelled also. Although he had been successful in finding publishers for his plays, his dissipated life led to an early death from alcoholism and tuberculosis.

Grabbe’s most important poetic work, Napoleon; oder, die hundert Tage (1831; “Napoleon; or, The Hundred Days”), exemplifies the boldly experimental form of his plays, in which he avoided continuous action by the use of a series of vividly depicted and contrasting scenes. His tragedy Don Juan und Faust (1829) is an imaginative and daring attempt to combine the two great works of Mozart and Goethe. Like many of his plays, it exceeded the practical demands of the theatre. Among his most enduring is the mordant satire Scherz, Satire, Ironie, und tiefere Bedeutung (1827; Comedy, Satire, Irony, and Deeper Meaning).

 
 
He is also known for Abhandlung über die Shakespearo-Manie (1827; “Essay on Shakespeare Mania”), in which he attacks Shakespeare and advocates an independent national drama. His other major works are the tragedy Herzog Theodor von Gothland (1827; “Duke Theodor of Gothland”), noted for its scenes of violence; and two plays about Hohenstaufen rulers, Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa (1829) and Kaiser Heinrich VI (1830).

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
see also: Christian Dietrich Grabbe
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Kotzebue August: "Die deutschen Kleinstadter"
 
 

Kotzebue: "Die deutschen Kleinstadter," comedy
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Nestroy Johann
 

Johann Nestroy, in full Johann Nepomuk Eduard Ambrosius Nestroy (born Dec. 7, 1801, Vienna, Austria—died May 25, 1862, Graz), one of Austria’s greatest comic dramatists, and a brilliant character actor who dominated the mid-19th-century Viennese popular stage.

 

Johann Nestroy, 1834
  After a career as an opera singer (1822–31) in several European cities, Nestroy returned to Vienna and began writing and acting.
His 50 plays, which are virtually all adaptations of plots from earlier plays or novels, characteristically revolve around a brilliant, detached central character (played by Nestroy himself ) whose part requires a virtuoso performance in language, diction, and timing in order to convey its sharp nuances.

Nestroy made use of satire, irony, and parody to dissect the newly rich bourgeoisie, as well as a number of the leading figures of Viennese society. From 1854 until he retired in 1860 he managed the Carl-Theater in Vienna.

Among his best-known works are Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus oder Das Liederliche Kleeblatt (1833; “The Evil Spirit Lumpazivagabundus, or the Roguish Trio”); Der Zerrissene (1844; A Man Full of Nothing); Das Mädl aus der Vorstadt, oder Ehrlich währt am längsten (1841; “The Lass from the Suburb, or Honesty is the Best Policy”); Einen Jux will er sich machen (1842; “He Intends to Have a Fling”), adapted by Thornton Wilder as The Matchmaker and later adapted as the musical play and film Hello Dolly!; and Kampl oder: Das Mädchen mit den Millionen und die Nähterin (1852; “Kampl; or, The Millionairess and the Seamstress”).

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg), Ger. poet, d. (b. 1772)
 
 

Novalis (1799), portrait by Franz Gareis
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Schiller: "Die Jungfrau von Orleans"
 

The Maid of Orleans (German: Die Jungfrau von Orleans) is a tragedy by Schiller Friedrich, written in 1801 in Leipzig. During his lifetime, it was one of Schiller's most frequently-performed pieces.

 
 
 
Plot
The play loosely follows the life of Joan of Arc. It contains a prologue introducing the important characters, followed by five acts. Each dramatizes a significant event in Joan's life. Down into Act IV the play departs from history in only secondary details (e.g. by making Joan kill people in battle, and by shifting the reconciliation between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians from 1435 to 1430). Thereafter, however, the plot is entirely free. Joan is about to kill an English knight when, on removing his helmet, she at once falls in love with him, and spares him. Blaming herself for what she regards as a betrayal of her mission, then, when at Reims she is publicly accused of sorcery, she refuses to defend herself, is assumed to be guilty, and dismissed from the French court and army. Captured by the English, she witnesses from her prison cell a battle in which the French are being decisively defeated, breaks her bonds, and dashes out to save the day.
  She dies as victory is won, her honour and her reputation both restored.
The play reflects the new nationalism and militarism of the budding nineteenth century, and also the Kantian ideal of the need to subject emotion to moral principle.

The line "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens" (III, 6; Talbot) translates into English as "Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain." This provided Isaac Asimov with the title of his novel The Gods Themselves.

This was the most performed (at least in Germany) of all Schiller's plays down to the Great War. In modern post-war Germany, its militarism is an embarrassment, but the dramatic power of the last two acts keeps the play on the stage.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
 
     
  Friedrich von Schiller

"Love and Intrigue"
     
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 
1801
 
 
Robert Southey: "Thalaba the Destroyer"
 

Thalaba the Destroyer is an 1801 epic poem composed by Southey Robert. The origins of the poem can be traced to Southey's school boy days, but he did not begin to write the poem until he finished composing Madoc at the age of 25. Thalaba the Destroyer was completed while Southey travelled in Portugal. When the poem was finally published by the publisher Longman, it suffered from poor sales and only half of the copies were sold by 1804.

 
The poem is divided into twelve "books" with irregular stanza structures and unrhymed lines of poetry. The story describes how a group of sorcerers work to destroy the Hodeirah family in an attempt to prevent a prophecy of their future doom from coming true. However, a young child named Thalaba is able to escape from the slaughter. After one of the sorcerers hunts down Thalaba to kill him, the sorcerer is defeated by a great storm and his powerful magical ring comes into Thalaba's possession. With the ring, Thalaba travels across the Middle East to find a way to defeat the evil sorcerers. In the end, Thalaba is able to stay true to Allah and is guided by the prophet Mohammad in destroying the sorcerers.

Southey uses the poem to describe various superstitions and myths, with a heavy reliance on repetition of various themes that link the myths together. Although based in Islamic theology, most of the action is mechanical instead of emphasising possible moral truths that can be drawn from the plot. Though the main character is purported to be a Muslim, the story actually takes place thousands of years before Islam, in ancient Babylon. Critics gave the work mixed reviews, with some emphasising the strong morality within the work or the quality of the poetry. However, other critics felt that the lack of a strong lyrical structure and the use of Middle Eastern myths took away from the poem.

  Background
The basis for Southey wishing to write long poems came from his private reading of literature while attending Westminster School as a boy. In Summer 1799, Southey completed writing Madoc and began working on Thalaba.

He started to work with Coleridge, and both Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" and Thalaba shared many sources. He then travelled to Burton where he continued to write the poem, which he called a romance at the time.

He soon after travelled to Portugal in April 1800 where he planned to finish Thalaba and send it back to England for publication.

By July, he was able to complete the poem and in October the poem was edited and ready for publication. John Rickman served as Southey's agent in selling the book.

Although finished, Southey continued to work on fixing the end of the poem until January 1801 after receiving suggestions from his friends. After Portugal went to war with France and Spain, Southey left the country and he returned to England in June 1801.

The poem was published in 1801 by Longman with 1,000 copies, but only sold half by 1804. A revised edition was published in 1809.

 
 
Poem
The poem is a twelve book work with irregular stanzas and lines that are not rhymed. The poem deals with Harun al-Rashid and a group of sorcerers at Domdaniel that live under the sea. It was foretold that Thalaba, a Muslim, would be God's champion and conquer the sorcerers. To pre-empt the prophecy, the sorcerers kill the Hodeirah family. Unknown to them, Thalaba was able to escape from harm with his mother Zeinab. They flee through the desert and arrive at Irem, a ruined city. After Zeinab dies, Thalaba is raised by a leader of Irem named Moath. The sorcerers find out that Thalaba is still alive, and Abdaldar, one of their members, goes to find out Thalaba's location. When Abdaldar arrives, he is stopped a simoom, a sand storm, and his magic ring is lost. Thalaba finds the ring, which grants him great power.

A demon comes to steal the ring from Thalaba, but he is stopped by the young boy. This allows Thalaba to demand information about the sorcerers and why his family was killed. Time passes and Thalaba settles into a pastoral life at Irem and plans to marry Moath's daughter, Oneiza. However, Thalaba decides that his duty prohibits him from such actions, and he leaves to fulfill his destiny. However, the sorcerer Lobaba tricks Thalaba and tries to steal the ring. After many failed attempts, Lobaba tries to convince Thalaba to harness the ring's magic power, which would bring Thalaba harm. Instead, Thalaba argues against the use of magic in general and realises that Lobaba is evil. Although Thalaba attempts to kill Lobaba and fails by the sorcerer's magic, a storm comes and destroys the sorcerer.
Thalaba travels past Baghdad onto the ruins of Babylon to find Haruth and Maruth, two angels that know about magic. While searching for them, he runs across Mohareb, an evil warrior.

 
Title page to the 1809 second edition
 
 
Mohareb offers to take Thalaba through the city and they travel through the cave of Zohak. Zohak, an individual punished to have snakes constantly eat at his brain, tries to stop them before Mohareb distracts him. The two continue to travel into the dwelling of Haruth and Maruth and, when Mohareb finds out that Thalaba is not evil, attacks him. However, the ring protects Thalaba. After Mohareb claims that magic was the only reason why Thalaba lives, Thalaba decides to get rid of the ring into a pit before the two resume fighting. Soon after, Mohareb is also thrown into the pit and Thalaba is able to ask the angels what he needs to defeat his enemies. He is simply told "faith".
 
 
Thalaba travels to the land of Aloadin, who owns a great garden paradise, and he is invited to feast with the people, but he is unwilling to imbibe alcohol or be taken in by the dancing women that seek to entice him. The temptations overwhelm him to the point where he can no longer tolerate them and he flees. Shortly after leaving, he discovers one of the women being attacked by a man wanting to have his way with her. It is revealed that the woman was Oneiza, who was captured, and that Aloadin was a sorcerer. After saving Oneiza, Thalaba is determined to stop the sorcerer and he ends up killing him. Following this, they are praised by a Sultan that Aloadin wanted to kill, and Thalaba decides to marry Oneiza. Before they can finish their marriage, she dies and Thalaba is left to mourn over her grave. While mourning, a spirit that appears to be Oneiza begins to haunt Thalaba and claim that God disapproves of the young warrior. However, Moath comes and is able to recognise the spirit as a vampire. After killing the vampire, the real Oneiza comes to guide Thalaba onwards.

Thalaba travels to look for Simorg, the Bird of Ages, on the mountain Kaf. While wandering, he meets an old woman, Maimuna, who is a sorceress. She casts a spell upon him and he is sent to the land of Mohareb, by now an evil Sultan. However, Maimuna's sister, Khawla, knows that if Thalaba is killed that Mohareb would also be killed and she seeks to kill Thalaba to remove Mohareb. Finding this out, Mohareb joins with Thalaba and returns the ring. After telling Thalaba to turn to the darker powers, Thalaba leaves. Khawla attempts to user her magic to kill Thalaba, but the ring protects him. When Maimuna tries to user her own magic against Thalaba, she witnesses the goodness of the universe and represents her evil ways.
She repays him by using her magic to bring him back to the mountain, and Thalaba is able to return to his search for Simorg.

  After wandering through snow, Thalaba comes across the Font of Fire with the sleeping Laila trapped inside. It turns out she was placed there by her father, the sorcerer Okba and one of the murderers of Thalaba's family.

Okba, old and worn out, comes and asks Thalaba to simply kill him and end his misery. However, Thalaba denies the request. The angel of death, Azrael, tells Thalaba that either Okba or Laila must die. Okba uses this chance to try and stab Thalaba, but Laila steps in between them and is killed. Okba curses God for his fate but Thalaba can only feel pity over the scene. After leaving, he is able to come to Simorg's valley. Simorg directs Thalaba to take a sled to continue on his way while the spirit of Laila asks Thalaba to end Okba's misery. However, Thalaba refuses to commit vengeance and he travels onwards until he arrives at a small boat waiting for him. He is taken down a river to the sea where Thalaba tosses away his magic ring. He is then taken to a cave that would lead him to the domain of the sorcerers.

Thalaba travels down into the cave and meets the warrior Othatha chained to rocks. Thalaba frees Othatha before travelling further until he meets an Efreet that guards a gate to the Domdaniel. After shooting an arrow into an eye of the Efreet, he is able to proceed forward where he meets Khawla and Mohareb. He is able to knock them away from him and quickly moves forward to find the powerful sword of his father.

The sword of flames covers Thalaba in flames which causes the area to be filled with light. This scares the sorcerers who then try to attack him. After Thalaba defeats Mohareb and the sorcerers, the voice of Mohammad asks Thalaba what he wishes. Thalaba simply gives his will up to the Prophet before destroying an evil idol, which destroys the cave.

 
 
Themes
The story depicts how suffering is essential to completing one's destiny. Southey's purpose in Thalaba, however, is to describe as many of the various myths and superstitions that he can, and this interferes with the resolving of moral problems within the story. Instead, the moral lessons are formulaic and the events focus on awards given to those who are obedient. Southey's emphasis on the actual mythic incidents over the moral events are backed up with more than 80 pages of his own notes that describe the various references to traditional myths or mythic creatures that are incorporated into the story. In terms of structure, the unilateral plot keeps Thalaba does not allow for an easy flow into various mythic incidents. Instances of the plot being supplanted by the myths can be found during the descriptions of the story of Irem, Haruth and Maruth, or others.

There is reliance on repetition of themes within the plot of Thalaba. Three times he attained a paradise that turns out to be false, and this is followed by the death of a woman who are gone until the very end when Thalaba is awarded entrance into a true paradise. The seeking out of mythic figures to guide him onto the next part of the tale is equally repetitive and has little result for the plot. Various instances of the sorcerers and sorceresses are added to the story to emphasise the evil of magic along with tempting Thalaba with power. However, the emphasis on magic hides the moral within Thalaba's temptations. Although Thalaba does achieve his goal through moral submission, many of the quests and actions are arbitrary and repetitive. As such, they take away from any Islamic truth that could be found within the actions.

Other images, such as Thalaba reclaiming his father's magic sword, are symbols that effectively reinforce Southey's moral themes. However, these events represent the minority of the plot and are rarely relied on early in the story. To the contrary, the heavily represented magic ring is used to protect Thalaba with little explanation as to how it works and there is no moral statements tied to its use. As a whole, the poem is able to portray scenery and events in strongly descriptive manners, but the manner in doing this takes away from their meaning and effect. In terms of religious imagery, Islam within the poem is more similar to Zoroastrian thought and morality.

Other religious images lose their power as Southey removes any mystical aspects of them, including Simorgh being stripped of it being a symbol of harmony with life. In terms of the divine, there is a dual entity: Allah representing preservation and Eblis representing destruction. However, evil, though an opposite to good, is never explained but merely used to further the plot.

  Critical response
Ernest Bernhard-Kabisch pointed out that "Few readers have been as enthusiastic about it as Cardinal Newman who considered it the most 'morally sublime' of English poems. But the young Shelley reckoned it his favorite poem, and both he and Keats followed its lead in some of their verse narratives." An anonymous review in the September 1801 British Critic claimed, "A more complete monument of vile and depraved taste no man ever raised [...] He has, therefore, given a rhapsody of Twelve Books in a sort of irregular lyric, so unlike verse or sense, that if it were worth while to present our readers with a tissue of so coarse a texture, we could fill whole pages with specimens of its absurdity. We will have mercy, and give only a single example, which may be taken at random, for no part seems to be better than the rest."

This was followed by an October 1801 anonymous review in the Monthly Mirror that argued, "It is a matter to be lamented, that, in times like the present, a work of letters can rarely be reviewed upon the ground of its own proper merits ... In the consideration of this romance, the judicious critic cannot but feel that one rule of good writing has been studiously observed. His work will not incur the censure passed by the late Mr. Collins upon his Persian Eclogues, namely, that, from erroneous manners, they were 'Irish.'" The review continued, "He tells us it is metrical ... He will excuse our ears, but we cannot agree with him. Among the sins of our youth, we, like him, have traded in desultory versification, but have long been brought back to lyrical rhyme, and heroic blank verse. The reasons are obvious ... We recommend his beauties to the esteem, and his faults to the forgetfulness, of every reader. Upon the whole, he has our thanks for much amusement, and some information."

An anonymous review in the January 1802 Monthly Magazine stated, "The fable or story of Thalaba is perhaps too marvellous: every incident is a miracle; every utensil, an amulet; every speech, a spell; every personage, a god; or rather a talismanic statue; of which destiny and magic overrule the movements, not human hopes and fears—not human desires and passions, which always must excite the vivid sympathy of men. It offers, however, scope beyond other metrical romances". The review concluded, "Whatever loss of interest this poem may sustain, as a whole, by an apparent driftlessness of the vents and characters, is compensated by the busy variety, the picturesque imagery, and striking originality of the parts."

Later in 1802, Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, submitted a review on Thalaba. In the October 1802 edition, he claimed that Southey "belongs to a sect of poets, that has established itself in this country within these ten or twelve years, and is looked upon, we believe, as one of its chief champions and apostles ...

 
 
As Mr Southey is the first author, of this persuasion, that has yet been brought before us for judgment, we cannot discharge our inquisitorial office conscientiously, without premising a few words upon the nature and tendency of the tenets he has helped to promulgate. The disciples of this school boast much of its originality." This led to a discussion of Southey's flaws: "Originality, however, we are persuaded, is rare than mere alteration ... That our new poets have abandoned the old models, may certainly be admitted; but we have not been able to discover that they have yet created any model of their own."
 
 
He continued to discuss the flaws of the British Romantic poets before returning to Thalaba when he argued, "The subject of this poem is almost as ill chosen as the diction; and the conduct of the fable as disorderly as the versification ... From this little sketch of the story, our readers will easily perceive, that it consists altogether of the most wild and extravagant fictions, and openly sets nature and probability at defiance. In its action it is not an imitation of anything; and excludes all rational criticism, as to the choice and succession of its incidents."

This was followed by a December 1803 review in the The Critical Review by William Taylor that said,

Perhaps no work of art so imperfect ever announced such power in the artist—perhaps no artist so powerful ever rested his fame on so imperfect a production—as Thalaba. The author calls it a metrical romance; he might have called it a lyrical one; for the story is told, as in an ode, by implication; not directly, as in an epopoeia. It is a gallery of successive pictures. Each is strikingly descriptive ... but the personages, like the figures of landscape-painters, are often almost lost in the scene: they appear as the episodical or accessory objects.

  The review concluded, "The style of Thalaba has a plasticity and variety, of which epic poetry offers no other example. The favourite formulas of every school of diction have been acquired, and are employed ... This stunning impression of the style gives pain, we believe, especially to mere English scholars, and to those whose comparison of art is narrow and confined, but falls within the limits of pleasure, and is even a cause of luxurious stimulation, to readers of a wider range and a more tolerant taste."

In 1977, Bernhardt-Kabisch claimed that the poem was "probably the most influential and historically the most important of Southey's long poems" and "What made Thalaba distinction as well as provocative was above all its flamboyant exoticism." However, he pointed out that "The chief weakness is the diffuse and tortuous plot which eddies and meanders without any firm principle of progression as the hero posts from stage to mysterious stage."

Sir Granville Bantock authored "Thalaba the Destroyer – Symphonic Poem" (1899) based on the poem.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
see also: Robert Southey
 
 
     
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
     
 
 
 

 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-1800 Part II NEXT-1801 Part II